Way back in 1926 a number of boat owners on the River Severn at Worcester decided to form a club to further the interests of those boating on the River. A preliminary meeting on December 15th was followed by a General Meeting at “The Rectifying House” on January 12th 1927 when Admiral Cummings, R.N. was elected President and Lt. Comm. Eyres-Monsell, R.N. Vice President. The Severn Motor Yacht Club was formed.
A short time later they hired a houseboat – “The Perseverance” – as their H.Q. which was moored on the river bank opposite “The Pytchcroft” (now Worcester Race Course). A covered raft was bought for use as a landing stage and a resident caretaker appointed in March 1927.
The first Club cruise (of 12 boats) was to Lower Lode at Tewkesbury on Sunday 29th May and, after other cruises in company, the season terminated with supper for 5 members at the “Camp Hotel” upstream, near Bevere lock
In September 1927 the Club Headquarters moved to the left bank of the river adjoining the Corporation Bathing Station. The Lease of “The Perseverance” expired and in November the raft was wrecked, a loss necessitating removal of the Club Headquarters to the “Ketch Hotel” in April 1930. The change of location was not successful and by Spring 1931 the Club had practically ceased to exist, though members continued to moor at “The Ketch” throughout the Summer.
At a dinner at Upton-on-Severn, in November 1931, it was proposed the Club continue in modified form – admitting ladies to full membership and fostering the social side of boating. The twenty-two people present supported this proposal and the Club in it’s present form dates from that day.
At a General Meeting in 1934 held at “The Star Hotel”, Worcester, the club name was changed to the Severn Motor Yacht Club which, in 1935, was placed on the Board of Trade list of recognised clubs.
Rapid expansion in membership and the size of craft demanded improved facilities and a sub-committee was appointed to investigate options for the future.
In 1937, after two years work, a site was found and Severn motor Yacht (Holdings) Ltd was floated to finance and develop the enterprise.
Freehold land at Clerkenleap, south of Worcester, with a river frontage of 300 yards was acquired for moorings. A clubhouse was built with an approach road laid and members’ car park constructed. A floating stage was installed, with water and fuel laid on for provisioning yachts. Small motorboat tenders provided river transport and, later, electric lamp standards illuminated moorings. Increased demand for moorings led to renting of the opposite bank from the relevant landowners to provide accommodation for 50 yachts.
During the Second World War many club boats were requisitioned by the Admiralty and a number were lost on Active Service. A commemorative plaque in the clubhouse gives full details of the vessels concerned.
After the war, increased social activity necessitated clubhouse enlargement and the re-housing of the Club Steward and his wife. Following the big flood of 1947 when 3ft of water was in the clubhouse it was decided to extend the dining room and to build new Steward’s quarters at a higher level with work beginning in 1948. There is now an excellent bar and lounge for members’ use and full catering facilities for normal activities and for the grander occasions which occur each year.
Much of the Club history has been recorded on film by our late and revered Past President H Leslie Brookes, who was a tremendous help in developing the club and was very much one of the pioneers of the Severn Motor Yacht Club.
Since those times the landscaping has been greatly extended and more care parking areas established. Haynes Pier has been constructed to provide access to landing at all states of the river. “Trot” moorings have been laid on the West bank. Pontoon moorings have now been installed for the East bank to bring the facilities up to and beyond modern marina standards, the maintenance of which is carried out by moorers and members. In a sign of the times, a controlled access security system now regulates access to the site and the clubhouse.
The Club is now 86 years old and over these years the Club could not have succeeded without a tremendous amount of effort being put in by past Commodores, flag officers, committee members and the entire SMYC community.
This history was compiled based on writings of the late H. L. Brookes, who was Commodore in 1933 and 1936 and with help from his son H. A. Brookes who was Commodore in 1961, 1963, 1967 and 1976.